Winemaking

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Art of the Grape: Winemaking from The Ground to The Glass

The grapes we grow become the wine you drink. Our quality crafted wines come directly from our vines, grown here in the North Okanogan Valley of Washington State, where the soils are composed of leftover deposits from the last Ice Age. The soil is where the crafting begins.

The season begins when the water from the snowmelt of the Eastern Cascade Mountains flows to their roots through amazingly sandy soil. As the season progresses, the vines mature and the grapes flourish thanks to the unique balance of hot days and cool nights here. When the sun shines, its hot, but at night, its not, just nice and cool. And the range of grape varieties that thrive here takes us all by surprise. Whites from Riesling to Viognier, and reds from Pinot Noir and Lemberger right on through to the newest plantings of Sangiovese all find a niche here.

Harvest happens at Esther Bricques selectively and by hand into 25-30 pound lugs when the sugar levels, the acids, the skins, and the seeds come together to make that unique point of ripeness that creates unforgettable flavors. Because we are small, we can sort the fruit as we pick, allowing us to ferment only the best of what our vineyards have to offer.

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Once the grapes are harvested, the destemming begins, as the grapes gently leave their stems behind and become juice, if they are white, or mash, if they are red. Of course, if they are destined for ice wine, the grapes continue to sit out in the elements until it is 15 degrees Fahrenheit out there!

The Ferment… comes from the union of yeast and grape, the feeding frenzy of the yeast on the grapes’ generous supply of sugar resulting in the generation of heat, carbon dioxide and alcohol, all in small lots …But something else happens as the fruit and juices release flavors not present earlier, happening gradually, coolly, with the help of gravity… …leading, in time, to the marriage of the rather amazing flavors you meet when you drink our wine.